At first, it looks like a sunny family chat, with Britain’s young royals Kate Middleton, Prince William and brother Harry casually dressed and huddled on a park bench. But Middleton quickly steers the conversation towards a serious agenda: the various personal challenges each of them has faced over the years, like modern parenting, or the grief and trauma following the princes’ mother Princess Diana’s death in 1996.
All this, for a series of videos for the #OkToSay campaign, live-streamed to create awareness about mental health issues.
Not quite your stiff upper lip.
The royals were roped in by the organisation Heads Together to share their personal struggles in order to make the issues more relatable. As Harry says in the video, the idea is to share their own “little experience to empower others to have a conversation...at a young age, rather than bottling it up.”
“We have been brought closer because of the circumstances as well, that’s the thing,” says William. “You are, you know, uniquely blinded because of what we’ve been through but even Harry and I over the years have not talked enough about our mother.”
Thirty-two-year-old Harry reveals that he came close to a “complete breakdown,” and sought counselling to be able to deal with the trauma. “I always thought to myself, ‘What’s the point of bringing up the past? What’s the point of bringing up something that’s only going to make you sad? It ain’t going to change it. It ain’t going to bring her back,” he says.
Middleton speaks about motherhood after giving birth to her child George, saying that no matter how many books you read, nothing can really prepare you for it.
Previously, in another video for the series, William had discussed mental illness over a candid video call with American pop singer Lady Gaga. Gaga had acknowledged in 2016 that she had suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after being sexually assaulted at age 19.
“There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness. You feel like something is wrong with you,” Lady Gaga said from her kitchen in Los Angeles.